The Great Britain men’s volleyball team are in high spirits despite losing their opening game 3-0 to Bulgaria.
Team GB, who are based in Sheffield, lost 25-18, 25-20, 26-24 and have four games left to play in Pool B. After a day off they will return to Earls Court to play Australia on Tuesday.
2011 BOA Athlete of the Year Dami Bakare said his first Olympic experience has left his team brimming with confidence, despite their opening loss to the world number nine side.
He said: “I absolutely loved it. I had to contain myself and keep my head low. As soon as the game starts it is us on the ball.
“We talked in the locker room and said the GB team is going to make history today- the first ever GB Olympic volleyball team. We know we can compete, we want to prove it. We have growing confidence.
“We need to believe we can finish it. Your heart is pounding. We lost today and the crowd was great. Imagine how that would have been if we had won.
“But there is no time to laugh or cry. We have to get on with the next game against Australia.”
Meanwhile former All Saint school student Ben Pipes said he was to blame for the loss.
The captain of the team said: “I didn’t find my rhythm. It could be for a multitude of reasons but on my part that let the team down and that lies on my head.
“In the second set we maybe found some more, managed to bung a few holes, and the third set was when we started playing our game. That can compete against these Olympic teams, but today it didn’t happen for long enough.”
Pipes was keen to stress that nerves - GB have not played in front of a crowd of today’s size on home soil before - were not a reason for such a sluggish start, thinking that if anything, he and his team-mates were too keyed up.
“I personally don’t think I was nervous. I felt relaxed but the rhythm didn’t come. Everyone was pumped, we were maybe over the top, the opposite of nervous,” he said.
“Once we found our rhythm our reception was good and we need more games against these teams. We were loving it on the court - we were playing in the same sports hall but we were a different team in the third set.”